Most people strength train, or work out in any form, to change how their body looks (i.e. lose fat or build muscle). Building a “better looking body” and improving health are the main benefits people desire when they train.
While that’s certainly true, it’s also short sighted.
But how in the world can strength training help you live a more awesome life? How can what you do in the gym carryover into every other aspect of your life, and improve it?
Here are seven ways …
1) The strength carryover effect. Being physically strong will have a positive effect on other activities, and your entire life.
No matter what sports or recreational activities you participate in, you’ll experience an improvement in your performance. Likewise, daily tasks will become much easier as will playing with your kids and grand children (or your dog if you’re a canine-parent like me). For older adults (a.k.a. Mature Beautiful Badasses) it keeps them living independently and reduces fall risk.
Bottom line: being stronger can only make your life more awesome.
Note: You can “strength train” in numerous ways: with free weights, kettlebells, and even bodyweight exercises. There’s more than one way to get strong!
2) Increases self-confidence and body-image. How does this allow you to live a more awesome life? We boldly face the world and embrace its limitless opportunities, or at least will be more willing to do so than before.
I’ve experienced this personally and practically with every client I’ve worked with. They start carrying themselves more confidently and start doing things they once thought weren’t practical. They take more chances and put themselves out there more.
When you’re stronger and feel great, you’ll be more confident in your skin.
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3) Demolish self-imposed limitations. Strength training has a way of making you realize, Wow. I didn’t know I could do THAT.
Yes. You are stronger than you realize, and strength training will reveal the amazing things your body is capable of doing. You’ll be left wanting more instead of trying to be less (i.e. simply trying to make the number on the scale shrink, trying to “trick yourself” into eating less food, etc).
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4) Enhances the “willpower groove.” Several studies have revealed that willpower is, essentially, contagious. When you successfully increase your willpower in one area (doing three strength training workouts per week consistently, for example) that willpower spills over into other areas of your life.
This can explain why people who start exercising regularly also become motivated to get their finances in order, and vice versa. Willpower has been show in research to be just like muscles: you can increase it and make it stronger. Don’t be surprised when you start making “better for you choices” in other areas of your life once you start consistently strength training.
5) Increases your one-trip max. Admit you – you attempt the one-trip max every time you return from the grocery store.
You know dang well it would be easier to transfer the groceries in two trips, but you’re stubborn and do it in one. So what if your arms are shaking uncontrollably as you attempt to put the key in the door to unlock it and take an extra 15 seconds of effort to get it in there. At least you did it in a single trip!
Strength training increases your one-trip max. Carry those groceries proudly in a single trip!
6) Gets you asking the question, What else can I do? Strength training increases, and unleashes, your true potential. Relishing this incredible power you’re more likely to examine other areas of your life and take more risks (in a good way).
I’ve seen dozens of women overcome a lifetime of shyness when they get stronger; they’re more confident in social situations. Others find greater confidence to finally ask for a raise at work. Others finally try an activity they always wanted to do. Some even start doing things they once thought weren’t realistic or assumed they “couldn’t” do previously.
7) Helps you focus on what truly matters in life. Well, maybe not at first, but definitely over time.
I’m willing to bet that no person, at the end of their life, was wishing they had dieted harder or made their abs a bit more defined or their glutes perkier.
Yes, loving your body is important … but it’s not THE most important thing.
Take the time to slow down and think about all of the amazing things your body can do. If you’re following some basic principles you should be strong, feel awesome, and building a body that ultimately serves you. Embrace what truly matters: spending time with loved ones and making incredible memories.
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Be More Awesome!
If you currently strength train and aren’t fully experiencing the seven benefits above, perhaps it’s because you’re in need of a change in perspective.
Remember, health and fitness should make your life more awesome. It should make you feel empowered. It should decrease your stress. If you can’t (yet!) say those things are true for you, then take a different path. Get back to the basics and simplify your approach so you can quickly experience the many benefits strength training and simple nutrition guidelines have to offer. In my experience, if people aren’t aware of the benefits mentioned above, it’s because their current nutrition and fitness regimen is too complicated, stressful, or they’re just not certain what to do.
If you’re looking for a simple, no nonsense guide to get you going in the right direction so you can fully experience the amazing benefits strength training has to offer, check out Better Body by Minimalism.